This season has been an unprecedented one for the DSMA and all of the students in the programs we support. Our kids are the first and foremost thing on all of our minds right now, given recent cancellations and postponements due to COVID-19, along with the uncertainty about the remainder of the school year. Our thoughts are also with our families, many of whom may be faced with uncertainty with work and the health of their loved ones. We’ve come to know so many of you over the years, and we hope that we are all able to pull through this safely.
Given the cancellation of the DSMA meeting this month, and not knowing when we’ll be able to reschedule it, we wanted to send everyone an update on what we know has taken place so far with the music groups in the schools.
Here are the concerts and events that we know right now have been canceled:
The WGI season (no trips to Dayton, OH)
The NESBA indoor season (no NESBA Finals at Dartmouth High School on April 4)
The Band and Orchestra Play-In
Here’s what we know is (or expect to be) postponed:
The Annual Pops Concert at Dartmouth High School that was set for March 12
The Night of Percussion that was set for April 3
Feature Night on April 8 is expected to be postponed
The Earth Day Parade on April 22 may be postponed
Here is what is still tentatively scheduled:
The middle school trip to Six Flags in May
The Spring concerts at all of our schools
All of our events are at the discretion of the Dartmouth School Department, and we will be following their guidance on rescheduling (or canceling) events with the music department once school resumes. We are also currently working on the plan to refund families who are affected by trip cancellations. Right now we’re in contact with all of the hotels, bus companies, airlines, etc to get our deposits and pre-payments returned. We hope to have information for everyone within the next few weeks, and we thank you for your patience.
This school year started out with many changes due to EEE concerns, and now we’re unfortunately seeing cancellations and postponements due to COVID-19. We are truly hopeful that the ongoing school suspension, and the social distancing it provides, keeps our kids, our extended staff and our families safe.
Having football games and our fall marching band competition start times rescheduled due to EEE resulted in smaller crowds, and subsequently much lower concessions sales (and gate sales at the home show) than most years. Additionally, the cancellations and postponements right now due to the coronavirus, unfortunately, will have a large impact on the DSMA as a whole. This also extends to our fundraiser at Gillette Stadium; our first shift was tentatively scheduled for April 18 and that has been impacted as well with MLS pushing out the start of their season and the statewide ban on public gatherings.
Going forward, once school is back in session and life has returned to a relatively normal our plan is to come up with some additional ways we can make sure our students and our programs are taken care of for next year. This may include additional fundraisers or special performances, if possible. One thing is for sure – we need to make sure that BK gets the recognition he deserves before he retires for everything he’s done for our students over his long and storied career here in Dartmouth!
As a registered non-profit organization, our bylaws require us to send out nomination papers in April for DSMA executive board and committee positions for the following year. Understandably, there may be far more important issues and concerns still at hand next month. Once we get closer to that timeframe, we will reevaluate our calendar and make an appropriate decision that is best for everyone. Likewise with the scholarship applications for our qualifying seniors – our scholarship committee is already reviewing how they can ensure our kids are taken care of, no matter what. Once school resumes, we’ll be able to take a better look along with the music staff at what needs to be done to make up for lost concerts & events, and hopefully, many of the tentative events will still be able to go on or be rescheduled.
Our students are amazing. There’s no other way to put it. They practice at home, show up to long rehearsals at school, juggle music classes with all of their other studies, many of them take lessons with outside instructors or take part in other performance groups… they never cease to impress our teachers, staff, parents, and volunteers with how hard they work. As parent volunteers, it’s always a joy to watch our kids start the year and grow as performers and as people throughout the season. While this year may not be ending in the way many of them desired, we truly hope that in the not-so-distant future, many of our students look back on this year fondly and remember the fun they had, the friendships they made, and the adventures they shared.
If you have questions, concerns, or ideas – we want to hear from you. Please feel free to contact any of us and we would love to speak with you about the ways that we can continue to support the music and performing arts programs here in Dartmouth during this unprecedented time. And most importantly – be well, and stay safe.
The Dartmouth School Music Association Executive Board